“Is Jesus real? Is Hell real?” I asked my friend incredulously.
Before that fateful question, I had been going through a massive emotional and spiritual change. For some reason, I was discussing philosophy with everyone around me and looking into going to Church for the first time in my life for a “philosophical community” (not a Christian Church, mind you, just Unitarian or something similar. I still, at that point, had absolutely no intention of ever becoming a Christian).
That question, however, was the breaking point of my little glass bubble.
“Yes” she said definitely- no question in her voice.
Her “Yes” changed my life.
I immediately started to sob. Wracked with unfamiliar conviction, thoughts flooded through my mind. How could this possibly be?
How was it that the idea that I scoffed at so quickly, was actually truth?
“If Jesus is real”, I thought and “if Hell is real” then that must mean that I’m going to Hell. I broke down sobbing, unconsolable. My immediate fear slowly subsided but the questions persisted.
Nothing about Christianity made any sense, especially at that moment.
I don’t know why I took my friend’s answer at face value. I also don’t understand why I was sure she wouldn’t lie to me. The only explanation I have is that it was the Holy Spirit that was guiding me in that moment.
Days later, I took a rosary in my hands and pleaded with the Virgin Mary to explain this (what appeared to me to be) crazy Religion.
Mary made sense. She was a human- like me. She was a saint (an idea that made sense because of my spiritual background). And, most importantly, she was not a man claiming to be God. I knew I could trust her.
I asked her an insane question, “Mary, if this is real. If Jesus is real. You have to tell me”. Then I began to pray.
A rosary, lent to me be a friend made of plastic beads, was held loosely in my hands. The weight of the beads felt alien but comforting. I didn’t know how to pray the rosary but I tried anyways, desperate to understand what was going on.
Every Hail Mary was unfamiliar and strange in my mouth- as if I was praying in a different language. I didn’t know what mysteries were, I had no idea about Fatima, and I didn’t know what a Creed was but I continued, relentless.
Half way through the 3rd mystery something “clicked” in my head. I honestly felt as if there was a rush of Truth being downloaded in my brain. I had an epiphany. If Jesus is God then He had to die because He Loves us and His dying was a bridge between Men and God. Everything fell into place and I was astounded. I know that I this knowledge was a Gift. I had no way of understanding that if it did not come directly from God Himself.
My conversion is a Miracle. I know this because it makes absolutely no sense to me. How can a girl raised in a secular environment with no knowledge of Christ and immersed in the occult change into someone who is on fire for the Faith? Only God knows.
I don’t think I even finished praying that rosary because I received exactly the answer that I wanted. Jesus was the answer and I was transfixed at His Beauty.
Afterwards, I read the Bible voraciously as if I had finally found the oasis that I had searched for longingly in my thirst. I devoured every Saint and Catholic book I could get my hands on and started praying and journaling for hours everyday. I even started going to daily Mass from that moment (before I had even heard about RCIA).
I hardly knew who I was anymore but I finally had the Truth. I was never going to let go.
October 16th, 2009 is the day that I accepted Christ, the day I prayed that Rosary. It is one of the most beautiful days I have ever experienced.
Since that time the Lord has moved my life in a million different ways.
I have discovered a profound love for Philosophy and Theology. I have been gifted with a beautiful young adult group. My relationship with the Saints have increased. God has healed me from wounds from my past and has revealed my true self to me. I have been accepted into the Catholic Church and I have dedicated my life to Christ. More importantly, I fell in love with Jesus and I have been loved perfectly and absolutely every second.
I could never go back to who I was because I did not know Love until I encountered Christ.
In these past 8 years since my conversion there are a few things that I learned about converting. Hopefully these will help you if you are on the path towards conversion or know someone who is.
Insights from the Journey
1. God is Ever Present
I’ve had ups and downs in my Faith life. I’ve gone through moments of extreme desolation, of doubt, of questions, and disbelief. I’ve asked myself why I accept the sneers of my family when I could easily just give this journey up. But I found that God has been Ever Present. Previously, I had no idea who God was or that He was there. But now I know that He is here with us, Emmanuel. Since that moment He has not left my side and will never leave me. I am sure that He will guide me all of the rest of my days until I am back home with Him.
2. Jesus is Love
I have never understood Love, truly, or felt so loved until I converted and knew Christ. Not only is He real (!) He loves me perfectly in every way. Because of God’s infinite Love and care for me I have learned how to love and care for others. I am not perfect but I truly have a deeper appreciation for others, in a way that I did not before. His love for me inspires me to love others and share the love that He brings to me everyday with everyone I encounter. I pray I can do that justly.
3. Your Life Will Change
To say that my life changed drastically is an understatement. Before I converted I was sure I was going to become a Physicist and move to Europe. God had other plans. I am now an English Teacher at a Catholic School and live in Florida. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Everything that I thought was true about myself changed- I can see that I no longer recognize myself, accept for the fact that I am more myself than I have ever been. You may find yourself happier, more joyful because of the Presence of God. You may start praying- even if you haven’t before. It’s all and adventure. Thank God, for changes.
4. Cherish Every Moment
With every relationships, there are ups and downs but what I learned through this unexpected journey is to cherish all of the moments of consolation. There are times when I am so in love with God that I can scarcely contain my joy. I am so grateful that God loves me so much that He allows me to be so consoled. A conversion is a beautiful journey that is every flourishing and expanding but most importantly I never want to forget where I came from and everything that I went through to get to this moment with God.
The Truth is that I am still amazed.
I am still amazed when I go to Mass and realize that I believe everything in the Creed. I am amazed when I am surrounded by people praying and realize that I am one of those people. I am amazed, most of all, that the Creator of the Universe could love me so perfectly and thoroughly. That I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that He died for me.
I hope I will never stop being amazed at all He did to bring me back to Him.
To Hell and Back.
I hope that my (very brief) conversion story helped you in some way.
What was your (re)conversion like?
What miracles has God created in your life? Let me know in the comments!
What other tips or insights do you have since your conversion?
Tag someone and share!